Dear international teachers,
From 5th grade through graduation I attended schools in 4 countries and loved nearly every minute of it. My parents were both international school teachers and together we got to see the world. I have beautiful rose-colored memories of sights and cultures experienced over a childhood spent globe-trotting. Now, as an adult with children of my own, I recently ventured into the online world to wallow in nostalgia and, perhaps, take the career leap into international teaching myself.
Of course, within minutes of searching for international schools I stumbled upon International Schools Review. Out of curiosity I joined and began reading reviews of random schools. Let me tell you, I was floored! Maybe my family was lucky, or maybe my parents did a good job of shielding me from the up-close realities of teaching at these schools, but I had no idea that so many of you went through such mistreatment and abuse!
When I look back, I suppose I can see some of the issues that arose from living overseas: I remember long hours spent in 3rd-world airports, disappointing housing accommodations in a new country, and seemingly endless days and paperwork in waiting rooms to get passports stamped, visas supplied, doctor’s appointments completed and immunizations provided. Each new location was greeted with lots of embarrassing cultural exchanges, miscommunication and a constant, nagging feeling of being lost while navigating a new city, a new school, unfamiliar school standards, unknown classmates/peers, and a totally different way of interacting with others in my school and community. And all this discomfort was just for me as a child.
When I read on ISR what teachers have to deal with, the administrations of these international schools sound especially unpleasant. In hindsight, I imagine that some of the rich, overly indulged kids I experienced as peers were probably very challenging to have as students. I am sure that many of the filthy rich parents who welcomed me into their lavish, sometimes obscenely so, homes were demanding and awful to tangle with, especially if the director took their side in the battle. I can’t imagine working with few materials, missing paychecks, vendettas by insecure administrators, and/or maltreatment of local staff.
After some time reading ISR as a member, I must say that I am sincerely impressed with you all as a community. Never once as a student did I get the impression that my teachers were being put through the ringer. To smile and inform a classroom of children while left unsupported and unappreciated by the school/parents/students themselves is a Herculean feat. I know that in international schools I was given a great education by a group of creative, inspirational teachers who truly cared. So whatever you all are going through day-to-day, remember that you ARE changing and shaping lives for the better. Without a doubt I know I am a better person for all you did for us students, and I absolutely salute you!
A former international student
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